NH girls

The 2018-2019 Nodaway-Holt girls basketball team is front row from left: Masey Hager, Kailey Miller, Amanda Bohannon, Jaden Messner, Breanna Day; back row: Kloe Jenkins, Audree Embley, Krista Hart, Shaina Culp, Halle Clement and Kayelyn Edmondson. Not pictured: Emma Bohannon.

The Nodaway-Holt girls basketball team will be among the most experienced teams in the area with five starters returning from last season’s six-win squad.

“It is just nice having that foundation of people that you have played with for so long coming back,” Nodaway-Holt junior Halle Clement said.

The biggest change for the Trojans comes on the sidelines where Shawn Emerson takes over as the team’s head coach. 

Emerson, who was highly successful in his time as a head coach at South Nodaway, is excited to help build the program with his experience.

“They are a fun group to coach so far,” Emerson said. “The effort is there and we are just trying to work on fundamentals and defensive philosophies, but having girls that have experience really helps.”

Emerson also has the benefit of having assistant coach Gretchen Hiatt back for her second season in that capacity.

“He is pretty good with the posts and she is good with the guards,” Nodaway-Holt senior Breanna Day said. “So now we have both.”

On the court, the returning starters are led by a pair of four-year starters with point guard Amanda Bohannon and forward Day.

Day was a First-Team All-275 Conference selection last year after having a dominant season as a scorer and rebounder for the Trojans. 

Day will be joined in the frontcourt by sophomore Shaina Culp. Culp improved throughout the season as a freshman starter last year and now is coming off of a break-out volleyball season, so expectations are high entering the basketball season. 

“We are going to have to work to get the ball inside on offense and work inside-out,” Emerson said. “Our posts are going to have to be our strength this year.”

Bohannon was a Second-Team All-275 selection a season ago and with Clement also back, the Trojans have two experienced ball-handlers capable of running their offense. 

“For the last couple years, we have had so few numbers that we have gotten used to having quite a bit of playing time,” Clement said. “Now it is nice to be an upperclassman and have those numbers behind you.”

On the wing, the Trojans also return sophomore Krista Hart, who started last season. 

The Nodaway-Holt bench has the potential to be deeper this season with Sidney Leeper, Kailey Miller and Jadin Messner each returning and freshmen Emma Bohannon, Kayelyn Edmondson and Kloe Jenkins joining the team.

“We have some freshmen that are going to push to play,” Emerson said. “I feel like we have a good mix of experience and younger girls that are going to push them.”

The Trojans will begin the season in the Mound City Tournament next week. They will begin pool play against St. Joseph Christian on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. 

“We won six games last year so we are changing those expectations from ’we might win’ to every night having a chance to win at the end of the game,” Emerson said.